Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan told the Oakland Tribune late last week that she’s “seriously” considering running for mayor this year, the Trib reports. Kaplan said she plans to issue an announcement about her decision next month. Her entry in the race would shake up the mayoral campaign, and would make her the third viable candidate, after ex-state Senator Don Perata and Councilwoman Jean Quan. Mayor Ron Dellums has not announced whether he plans to seek reelection.
Although Kaplan’s relative inexperience may be seen as a drawback in some circles, she likely will get a boost by this year’s new voting format — ranked choice voting. The popular, energetic councilwoman is well-liked by many city residents and is sure to receive numerous second place votes in the November Election. In fact, she could end being the defacto second choice for both Perata and Quan supporters.
The reason? Perata backers don’t like Quan, and Quan supporters don’t like Perata. As a result, if Kaplan can attract more first-place votes than either of the other candidates, a large number of second place votes could allow her sweep into the mayor’s office. And that may not be such a longshot, because Kaplan will surely do well among progressives and younger voters, and will likely pick a substantial number of Dellums supporters if he decides to not run again.